At over 40%, the mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in China is amongst the highest in the world¹ and has been rightly described as an epidemic. Its population faces a catalogue of CVD risk factor statistics that expose high levels of obesity, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, and a smoking habit within males that is proving stubborn to address.
To support efforts to implement a series of treatment and prevention strategies that can help reverse these worrying trends, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) announces that it will deliver an educational programme at the 22nd Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology (http://en.gw-icc.org/). The ESC has been invited for the second time by its affiliate, the Chinese Society of Cardiology, to co-host a special symposium during the congress, which runs from 15-16 October in Beijing.
International collaboration is a key objective of the ESC's Global Scientific Activities (GSA) committee which has overseen the ESC response to the opportunity to attend. A senior faculty from the ESC will present a series of practical case discussions jointly chaired with the Chinese Society of Cardiology.
ESC's educational programme² at the congress is a dedicated event that provides an overview of its recent meetings and an insight into new and updated ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines. The programme summarises the role of ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors as the cornerstone of CVD management and considers treatment strategies for a range of conditions. These include atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, and non-STEMI heart attack (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction -- a type of acute coronary syndrome). The ESC will be represented by its President, Professor Michel Komajda, along with members of the ESC Board, and a number of eminent cardiologists that include authors of its most recent ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines. "We are very proud to be part of this joint initiative that will further strengthen the links between China and the ESC," says Professor Komajda. "This will be our second visit to the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, and we hope that the interactive programme we are delivering with our Chinese colleagues will lead to in-depth discussions around the important medical issues that we meet in daily practice."
Relevant risk factor statistics³ of the adult population in China highlight the scale of the challenge:
- CVD mortality rates are more than double the typical European value
- Obesity levels have increased from 21% in 2002 to 36% in 2010
- Over 30% of the population have high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Around 50% of males are regular smokers
The Chinese Society of Cardiology enjoys excellent relations with the ESC. It hosted a joint scientific session at the 2011 ESC Annual Congress in Paris and also took a stand in the exhibition to promote its activities. Dr. Hu Dayi is a member of the organizing committee of the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, now the largest cardiology congress in the Asia Pacific region. "This event has successfully united the various cardiology bodies in China," he says. "These include the Chinese Society of Cardiology along with the Asia Pacific Heart Association (APHA), the Chinese College of Cardiovascular Physicians (CCCP), and the Chinese Heart Rhythm Society (CHRS). It is a platform for global collaboration, and we plan to extend our cooperation with the ESC in areas such as clinical research, guideline promotion, and training."
The ESC's GSA Committee was established to meet demand for ESC science and knowledge outside of Europe, to build closer ties with international cardiology organisations, and to extend the ESC mission beyond its traditional borders. "We hope that our contribution to the 2011 Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology is as successful as last year's programme," notes Professor Fausto Pinto, the ESC Vice-President responsible for National Societies and Affiliated Societies, and a member of the GSA Committee. "It's not just about the ESC sharing its knowledge; there is a lot we can learn from our Chinese colleagues too. This visit represents a great opportunity to build long-term relationships that span all aspects of cardiology research, diagnosis, treatment, and -- of course -- prevention."
¹World Health Organization (Department of Measurement and Health Information, 2010) ² The full ESC scientific programme to be presented at the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology can be found here. http://www.escardio.org/congresses/global-activities/china/GWICC/Pages/welcome.aspx ³ World Health Organization (NCD Country Profiles, 2011) http://www.who.int/nmh/countries/chn_en.pdf
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